FFAS match officials are being treated to a FIFA MA Elite Referee Course that started on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017 at the local federation’s headquarters in Pago Pago.
“I want to officially open this course on behalf of our president, Faiivae Iuli Alex Godinet, our executive committee and FFAS,” Taumua explained. “They have sent their hopes that our match officials learn as much as they can from these two very experienced and knowledgeable gentlemen.”
Conducting the five-day course for American Samoa’s top referee and assistant referees are FIFA Referee Instructor Neil Poloso of the Solomon Islands, and OFC Fitness Instructor, Gregory Gallop of New Zealand.
“We are here to assist you in your career as a referee, so this course is very important for you to learn from, and I want you all to take this seriously,” Poloso said during the opening of the seminar. “We are going to provide you with the best information possible so that you can go out and officiate your federation’s games the best way you can.”
“We are going to assist you with the information that is consistent all around the world,” Gallop pointed out. “The information that is being provided to match officials in different parts of the world, is the same one we are going to provide to you throughout the week.
“All the work is going to be done by you, we are just going to assist you with the information. It will be hard work, you will need to be on time, but most of all I want you all to have fun as well.”
Taumua provided examples of how match officials must be leaders of the game out on the field.
“As was mentioned by Neil and Greg, a match official is a leadership position,” Taumua explained. “A lot of people don’t like leaders, like me for example, maybe it’s because of the way I look, the way I speak, and that’s the same for the role of a referee. As a match official, the players and fans will not like you, and this is where your leadership skills come in, being patient, firm in your decisions and making the correct choices.
“That’s why we have these courses so that you can broaden your knowledge, gain confidence as a match official because you are in a leadership position. One challenge I offere to a lot of our players is this, if you cannot represent American Samoa because you do not hold a U.S. passport, come out and be a referee or assistant referee,” Taumua added. “You cannot represent American Samoa as a national team player, but you can represent American Samoa as a match official.”
Taumua went on to urge the participants to absorb as much of the knowledge brought by both Poloso and Gallop.
“Ask a lot of questions, and don’t be ashamed to ask questions,” Taumua said.
There are 22 FFAS match officials attending the course, and it will include theoretical and practical sessions, as well as a FIFA fitness test to be conducted by Gallop on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017.
Poloso and Gallop are being assisted by local FIFA Referee instructors Lemusa Alatasi, Sione Mau and Talalelei Faalavaau.